Archives for October 2016


NRC Meeting Reminder

Posted October 26, 2016 at 8:34 AM
NRC Meeting
Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

Agenda includes:

  • NRC Reps' comments about the 2017 Recommended Budget
  • Findings and recommendations of Task Force on NRC Infrastructure

Look forward to hearing from you at this important NRC meeting!

Light hors d'oeuvres and refreshments served.

 

NRC Meeting Reminder

Posted October 21, 2016 at 3:34 PM
NRC Meeting
Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

It's that time of the year - time for the BCA Board to approve Brandermill's 2017 budget. NRC Reps are encouraged to collect feedback from their fellow neighbors about the Recommended Budget for the upcoming NRC meeting. It is anticipated that the BCA Directors will be voting to approve a 2017 budget (with a 5% assessment increase) at its Tuesday, November 1, 2016 meeting (7 p.m., The Brandermill Church). So, this is the time for residents to make their positions known.

An agenda item that should be important to NRC Reps will be the recommendations from the Task Force on NRC Infrastructure. First Vice Chair Joe Herbst will present the Task Force's findings and recommendations for NRC Reps to consider. NRC Reps may vote on these recommendations at this meeting, which will alter the way the NRC functions. Although all Brandermill residents are welcomed, NRC Reps should definitely plan to attend this meeting. Quorum may be required.

Chair McNeal seeks volunteers to serve on the NRC's Nominating Committee whose purpose will be to prepare and present the 2017 slate of NRC officers. Please consider serving on this committee as well as serving as a NRC officer!


Mark Your Calendars

Posted October 14, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Finance Committee Meeting
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
7:00 p.m.
BCA Office

The BCA Finance Committee will hold its final meeting on the 2017 budget proposal at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19 in the BCA office. A working draft is available for residents to review.

However, residents should know that the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors have become aware within the last 48-hours of a significant additional expenditure that will be required for maintenance of the St. Ledger's pool and will have a very significant impact on the formal budget proposal. That unexpected development will cause additional modifications to the proposed budget, though a specific dollar impact is not known at this time.

The Finance Committee will be working through the weekend to evaluate the situation in time for presentation to the community next Wednesday. Residents who have concerns or comments about the budget are encouraged to attend this Finance Committee Meeting.

Message courtesy of Brandermill Community Associaton

2017 Directory Listing

Posted October 14, 2016 at 1:50 PM
If you were not listed in the 2016 Brandermill Directory and wish to be listed in the upcoming 2017 directory OR you wish to update your information, please return your updated form to the BCA office by October 21, 2016.

For those residents who only want their addresses printed in the directory, be sure that the address printed on the form is correct, check YES next to the line stating "Include this revised update in the next directory," and return the form to the BCA office by October 21, 2016.

For more information, contact Director of Community Services Jennifer Strader via email (services@brandermill.com) or phone (744-1035, ext. 1005).


Highlights of October 3, 2016 BCA Board Meeting

Posted October 7, 2016 at 3:09 PM
Important Note: The below highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the above BCA meeting. Although we believe the below reporting is reliable and strive for accuracy, we cannot assure 100% accuracy. It is recommended to all readers that they read the approved BCA Board Meeting minutes when published.

Presentation by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services: "How to Deal with Geese Issues"

Biologist Jeff Rumbaugh of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services addressed the membership regarding resident Canada Geese management practices. He noted:

  • Canada Geese is among the top 3 or 4 wildlife management problem species in the U.S.
  • Canada Geese are a protected species under migratory bird laws, and it is unlawful to harm the birds or disturb their nests without permits.
  • Management of resident populations of Canada Geese is a marathon effort in which many management practices must be employed. He advised the community to try a number of non-lethal methods to control the geese population.

    First and foremost, stop feeding the geese. Feeding wildlife is illegal, and violations can lead to fines. He suggested that the BCA adopt standards, making it a violation to feed the geese. He also suggested posting signs prohibiting the feeding of geese.

    Habitat modification methods can be used, noting that the geese like gently sloping shorelines, manicured lawns and low growing vegetation where they can feel secure in spotting potential predators. Adding riprap along the shoreline and planting higher growing vegetation can discourage resident geese.

    Fencing around the nesting areas will discourage breeding because the goslings can't fly, and the adults will not leave the young.

    Loud and irritating noise caused by pyrotechnics and beating on trash cans can act as deterrents, and trained dogs (particularly trained Border Collies) can also encourage resident geese to depart.

    Other named non-lethal methods included fake predator and predator silhouettes, reflective flags, balloons and streamers, and paintball guns fired near but not at the geese.
  • Concerning population management practices, Rumbaugh advised that nests and eggs can be treated. This requires online registration and can only be conducted from March through June. This involves leaving the eggs in the nest but coating them with corn oil which prevents oxygen from getting to the egg. The number of treated nests must be reported to APHIS.
  • Hunters may kill a maximum of 10 birds per day during the hunting season. The County can help to determine what hunting practices might be legal within Brandermill.
  • The BCA or individuals can apply for a migratory bird depredation license. This license would permit populations to be reduced by about 15%, but other non-lethal methods must be tried and demonstrated to have failed before the license will be granted.
  • Geese molt around June and are temporarily flightless. During this period the USDA can be contracted to trap the geese. Again, non-lethal methods must first be tried to reduce populations and shown to have failed. The USDA charges a base amount of $1,483 plus $6 per trapped bird.

Director Pearson asked about the use of chicken wire along the shoreline and the use of drones. Rumbaugh advised against the use of drones, noting sensitivity to the government using or recommending the use of drones.

Director Hunt advised that her internet search had revealed that local ordinances controlled the use of firearms near roads and dwellings, thus limiting hunting as a potential population control measure in Brandermill.

President Davis commented that Canada Geese are also a problem around the lake and golf course. He asked Rumbaugh if there is a population number which might "trigger" the USDA to become involved in capturing the geese. Rumbaugh responded that upon request, the APHIS would need to perform a on-site visit, document the problems and the non-lethal wildlife management methods attempted by neighbors.

A resident who did not identify himself said that a New Jersey company was able to hire a licensed/permitted entity to use an air rifle/crossbow to get rid of the geese there. Is this an option for the BCA? Rumbaugh stated that Virginia had different requirements and more permitting issues, and are property-specific. Permits must be obtained by the property owner who may subrogate the use of the permit. Rumbaugh does not recommend the use of air rifles or crossbows.

President Davis concluded the presentation and discussion by commenting that the BCA would need to step up its education program to ensure that people do not feed the geese, and encouraged residents to contact the BCA Board for follow-up on specific geese control situations.

Comments? >>

Member Voice

NRC Representative Erin Collins (Oak Springs) addressed the BCA Board concerning the potential removal of the dock at Waterside Park. She noted that a number of her neighbors would be addressing the BCA Board concerning this issue and that she agreed with their positions. She stated she was not comfortable with the way she learned about the plans to remove the dock as part of the 2017 budget process and would appreciate more effort by the BCA Board to communicate budgetary topics and how residents could help remedy such issues as the dock at Waterside Park. She advised the Directors that the larger concerns have to do with the poor condition of the playground in the area surrounding the dock. She asked the BCA Board to take a hard look at how issues like these are communicated to the community.

Sally Kirchhoff (Oak Springs) advised the BCA Board that the Waterside Park dock is perfectly solid and does not pose safety issues for the Association. She showed the Directors a photo of many of the neighbors with their families gathered on the dock last Sunday. She expressed that she loves the dock and that residents in the neighborhood feel strongly about keeping the dock. She commented that the dock serves the community 24/7 year-round, unlike the community pools which are only available part of the year. She expressed her view that removing amenities like the dock are not good cost-cutting measures to save the pools. She also noted that the water in the lake surrounding the dock is very shallow and that the dock has been in the park for a very long time.

Greg Epps (Oak Springs) stated that he uses the dock 3-6 times per week, and in the evenings he and his dog sit on the dock to view the sunset. Living in Oak Springs since 2004, he has never heard of any safety issues related to the Waterside dock. He and his family have consistently used the dock, and his daughter has taken pictures of the dock to use in school art projects. He feels that resolving the Replacement Reserve Fund issues by nickeling-and-diming the neighborhoods is not appropriate. He also agreed with Collins about the way he learned about the dock issue. He concluded by saying, "Please don't take our dock."

A.J. Mojaddadi (Oak Springs) who has three children (ages 3, 5 and 7) noted that there have never been any safety issues with the dock and that he had purchased his house partly because of the dock. As a business owner who deals with fiscal issues, he offered to help with the dock.

John Bennett (Oak Springs) commented to the BCA Board that the Waterside dock is a bit like a Sunday Park for their neighborhood. He noted that enjoying the sunset from the dock is a great and unique experience in Brandermill. Noting that he is a civil engineer and a Scout Master, he told the BCA Board that he is available to help with the dock, adding "You can buy a lot of things, but you can't buy a sunset." He advised that there are no safety issues concerning the dock due to the shallowness of the water. In fact, he felt that work with the County to consider dredging options should be studied to combat the silting which is occurring in the reservoir and the upper Swift Creek area. He asked the Directors to keep the dock and thanked them for their efforts.

John Ennis & Ruth Brown (Whispering Oaks) addressed the BCA Board to say that they had gotten married on the Waterside Park dock. They commented that they walk, with their baby, to the dock at least once a week. Ennis noted that he grew up in Brandermill and asked the Directors to prioritize keeping the dock because it adds value to their lives.

In response to Member Voice about the Waterside dock, Treasurer Friedel said, after serving on the BCA Board for five years, this was the best Member Voice session he could remember. He noted that everyone was well prepared and pleasant.

Treasurer Friedel noted that he and the Finance Committee had received recommendations from a consultant to focus on maintenance of community amenities, in particular to potential safety issues. He advised that while looking at the Waterside dock and playground, they had concerns about dock safety and the state of disrepair of the playground, and the Finance Committee wants to spend money to improve the condition of the playground. He assured the residents that the committee was not meeting in the "middle of the night" and scheming to take money out of the neighborhoods. He thanked the residents and assured them that he and the Finance Committee are listening to their concerns. Treasurer Friedel assured the community that he prudently spends BCA monies as if it was his own and will consider ways to get information to members faster.

Collins thanked the BCA Board for all its efforts and especially for repair of the Waterside playground. She also asked that the Directors consider leveraging the expertise of residents.

Finance Committee Chair John Cardea noted that part of the problem leading up to the dock issue is that Brandermill does not have a Planning Committee. He noted, however, that he believes there is a process and that it is working, albeit it has its shortfalls.

Jeanne Puricelli (Shadow Ridge) praised the residents who spoke concerning the dock, saying that they were looking out for their neighborhoods. She noted that she too was speaking because she is looking out for hers. She expressed her dismay at the BCA Board's recent endorsement of Waterford Park (the proposed outdoor adventure park near Brandermill), despite the fact that the proffers include a higher permitted decibel noise level than any other activity in the area. She expressed that she thinks the residents of her neighborhood deserve a lower noise limit. She also claimed that the September 8, 2016 Special Board Meeting, during which the Board met with the developer of Waterford Park, did not adhere to the BCA's by-laws (Article II, Section 4) which require a 25-day notice for a member meeting. Based on that, she asked that the BCA Board rescind their letter of endorsement and to hold a legitimate member meeting.

President Davis asked Puricelli to stay as he would respond to her Member Voice comments during his report.

Susan Smith (Cove Ridge), a resident who live four houses away from the Waterside dock, commented that when the Finance Committee saw the dock, the hydrilla situation was created by buffers which had temporarily stopped the carp from reaching the area around the dock. She noted that the buffers have since been removed and the carp have returned to consume the hydrilla, clearing the water around the dock.

Comments? >>

President's Report

Regarding the September 8, 2016 Special Board Meeting with the developer of Waterford Park, President Davis noted that it had been arranged prior to the September 6th meeting in order to accommodate schedules of the developer and BCA directors. The BCA Board was successful at that Special Board Meeting in securing a 10-year commitment to reserve land to accommodate a ramp from Route 228 (if VDOT approves), increase attention to water quality issues, and keep the noise level to 55 decibels (where it is currently set for the area). The County Planning Commission hearing of the case has now been deferred for another 60 days. President Davis expressed his delighted that the collective input from Brandermill has been effective and about as good as we can expect.

President Davis also commented that he has read all of Puricelli's emails and consulted with the BCA attorney regarding the public notice of the September 8, 2016 Special Board Meeting. It is the attorney's legal opinion that it was, as Section 55-510 of the Property Owners' Association Act (POAA) does not apply to board meetings. POAA 55-510.1 applies to membership meetings, and Section 55-510.1B states

Notice of the time, date and place of each meeting of the board of directors or any subcommittee or other committee thereof shall be published where it is reasonably calculated to be available to a majority of the lot owners …. Notice, reasonable under the circumstances, of special or emergency meetings shall be given contemporaneously with the notice provided members of the association's board of directors or any subcommittee or other committee of the board of directors.

President Davis stated that the 10-day advance public notice requirement for Brandermill meetings does not apply to special meetings of the board, adding that the BCA by-laws pertaining to such special meetings need only give the public as much advance notice as is given to the Board. The Special Board Meeting of September 8, 2016 was, therefore, appropriately announced at the September 6, 2016 BCA Board meeting and emphasized that the meeting was scheduled in reaction to the availability of the developer.

Director Greg Pearson commented that the decibel level limit at The Boathouse, which is 10 decibels lower than noted by Puricelli, is lower partly because it is on the water. Director Gregory also noted that The Boathouse is located in the center of Brandermill.

Comments? >>

First Vice President's Report

First Vice President Pearson stated that the Communications & Marketing Committee would be meeting on Thursday, September 8. He invites residents to attend and to serve, particularly if they have a background in information technology or marketing.

First Vice President Pearson gave a brief update on the search for a new General Manager. He reported that of the initial 98 applicants, the list will first be narrowed to the top 10, then to the top 5, and finally to top 3 who will be the "top tier" candidates. The Search Committee will interview the top candidates using Skype as well as bring them in for 2-day visits and interviews. He commented that the BCA Board is doing more than ever before in a search to fill the General Manager position.

Comments? >>

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Friedel referred members to the August financial report which is included in the October 3, 2016 Board packet (pages 11-32). There is a slight surplus at the end of August in the 2016 BCA budget.

Comments? >>

Manager's Report

Manager Raimo reported that the maintenance team is continuing to clear brush along the trails and is currently working in Harbour Pointe. He noted that the repaving work at the Harbour Pointe pool and clubhouse should be completed this week.

Comments? >>

Committee Reports

Director Ann Hunt nominated Don Blom to a 3-year term on the Community Services Committee. His nomination was approved unanimously.

Comments? >>

Discussion of 2017 Budget Recommendations

Treasurer Friedel initiated discussion of the 2017 budget by commenting that the specific objectives of the Finance Committee in the development of the 2017 draft budget have developed over the past 40 years. Although the projected revenues are fairly well known, budget development is primarily a question of how to allocate those funds. The Finance Committee focused primarily on non-payroll items which constitute about half of the total budget. Five main objectives of the 2017 budget is to:

  1. Contribute to and maintain a prudent level of Replacement Reserve funds. There is general agreement that the Replacement Reserve Fund is too low and that we are approaching a steep-and-slippery slope in terms of maintaining the balance in that Fund at a safe level.
  2. Invest Replacement Reserve funds to optimize and balance the return-on-investments and principal safely. Work by the Finance Committee's Investment Subcommittee will not only increase investment returns this year to 2%-3% over the previous year but in a safe manner.
  3. Prioritize and maintain the basic infrastructure of the community: trails/paths, swimming pools, buildings, bridges and underpasses, and residential and BCA open spaces. Noting that the most important non-revenue generating amenities in HOAs across the country were trails/paths, Treasurer Friedel stated that there is now a 15-year maintenance plan in place for such, whereby 1/15 of the total trails/paths will be maintained each year.
  4. Prioritize and maintain recreational amenities: boat launches, marina, fee-generating rentals and non-fee generated amenities (parks and playgrounds, docks, etc.)
  5. Invest in new projects and programs when New and Replacement Reserve Funds permit. Treasurer Friedel noted that because we must work to maintain the level of the Replacement Reserve Fund, there is not a lot of money for investing in new 2017 projects.

While the Association has made progress financially in the past year, Treasurer Friedel concluded his remarks on the 2017 budget by sharing that we face serious financial challenges. He had challenged the Finance Committee to develop and present all serious financial options so that the BCA Board could make the best possible financial decisions for the 2017 budget.

Chair Cardea presented the Finance Committee's proposed recommendations by stating that the committee had been working to interpret the proposed budget prepared by past Community Manager John Bailey and our current Acting General Manager Al Raimo.

Chair Cardea noted that the 4.5% assessment increase in 2016 were fully allocated to the Replacement Reserve Fund. He explained that this year's recommended budget includes an additional 5% increase in assessments while also seeking to reduce the Operating budget. He commented that more than the 2016 Replacement Reserve monies have been spent due to replacement demands of our amenities. An example of this is the under-estimated bid on the marina replacement project, which will result in an estimated reduction to the Replacement Reserve Fund of $32,825.

Chair Cardea explained that Brandermill is getting older, so we are and will be facing a lot of things needing repair. Recently the BCA has been informed by the Swim Management Group that the St. Ledgers pool and the kiddie pool at Harbour Pointe need complete re-plastering at a projected total cost of $74,500; these repairs must be made before the pools can open in May 2017. He noted that other pool contractors will be consulted regarding the recommended re-plastering and Swim Management Group's associated cost estimate.

Three docks have been identified as needing maintenance, and the Harbour Pointe dock was recently closed due to much needed repairs. He advised the BCA Board that nothing has been decided regarding the docks as they are currently being evaluated. Chair Cardea did communicate that the Waterside Park dock was taken off the budget to be replaced. He noted that all of the docks will be evaluated for repairs and replacement in January through March 2017.

Chair Cardea went on to discuss the 5% recommended 2017 assessment increase. By making reductions in the Operating budget, the Finance Committee hopes to apply all of this increased funding to the Replacement Reserve Fund. He noted that a 5% assessment increase raises total revenue by only $100,000.

He also discussed a number of proposed changes in the 2017 budget including:

Chair Cardea noted that the pools lost approximately $60,300 in 2016. The Finance Committee is expecting to spend about $80,000 from the Replacement Reserve Fund in 2017 on pool maintenance and has twice met with the Community Services Committee to develop plans for the pools. He noted that the Harbour Pointe pool has the least number of attendees, North Beach has four times the number of members, and St. Ledger's has 4.5 times the number of members. All of the pools, he explained, are only operating at 1/3 capacity which explains the high cost of operation.

President Davis thanked the Finance Committee and commented the 2017 Proposed Budget has had a very thorough scrubbing, which has been possibly the best ever.

Director Hillman asked a number of questions related to the proposed 2017 budget, including:

Director Gregory thanked the Finance Committee, noting that the proposed budget is very tight and stressing that the costs associated in the coming years are due to our aging infrastructure.

Comments? >>

Vote to Amend the Self-Help Policy

President Davis moved for a change in Item 1. Authority to Take Action of the Self-Help Policy. The proposed change reduces the time required for written notification from 30 days to 14 days before the Association plans to take corrective action on a property. The reduction to a 14-day written notice to a resident whose property is not in compliance is consistent with the POAA as it relates to Hearing Panel referral notice.

Director Hillman asked if Self-Help was related only to foreclosed properties. President Davis responded in the negative, that this relates to all violations and would allow the Association to correct all egregious problems more quickly and to address the concerns of the residents.

The motion was passed unanimously.

Comments? >>


Mark Your Calendars!

Posted October 7, 2016 at 3:09 PM

NRC Meeting
Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

Although all Brandermill residents are welcomed, NRC Reps should definitely plan to attend this meeting as the Task Force on NRC Infrastructure will be presenting its recommendations for consideration.